Barry Cornwall

(21 November 1787 – 5 October 1874 / Leeds, England)

The Sea


THE SEA! the sea! the open sea!
The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
Without a mark, without a bound,
It runneth the earth’s wide regions round;
It plays with the clouds; it mocks the skies;
Or like a cradled creature lies.

I ’m on the sea! I ’m on the sea!
I am where I would ever be;
With the blue above, and the blue below,
And silence wheresoe’er I go;
If a storm should come and awake the deep,
What matter? I shall ride and sleep.

I love, O, how I love to ride
On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide,
When every mad wave drowns the moon
Or whistles aloft his tempest tune,
And tells how goeth the world below,
And why the sou’west blasts do blow.

I never was on the dull, tame shore,
But I lov’d the great sea more and more,
And backwards flew to her billowy breast,
Like a bird that seeketh its mother’s nest;
And a mother she was, and is, to me;
For I was born on the open sea!
The waves were white, and red the morn,

In the noisy hour when I was born;
And the whale it whistled, the porpoise roll’d,
And the dolphins bared their backs of gold;
And never was heard such an outcry wild
As welcom’d to life the ocean-child!

I ’ve liv’d since then, in calm and strife,
Full fifty summers, a sailor’s life,
With wealth to spend and a power to range,
But never have sought nor sighed for change;
And Death, whenever he comes to me,
Shall come on the wild, unbounded sea!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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